Posted by: mcfinder | December 8, 2008

Famous ‘Football Attack’ diaries now online.

Now this is cool. For me, the best part of researching the Great War is the individual stories, the personal suffering and heroism, the privatethoughts of the normal man-in-the-street-turned-soldier.  So, i was very pleased to see that the Royal Surrey Regimental Museum have digitised and posted diaries from some of their soldiers/officers.

One of the most famous acts of the war involved the 8th (Football) Btn, East Surrey Regiment…

On the first day of the Battle of the Somme, B Company of the 8th Battalion went into the attack dribbling four footballs which the Company Commander, Captain Neville had bought for his platoons to be kicked across No Man’s Land. Captain Nevill and many of his men were killed during the advance, but the 8th Surreys were one of the few battalions to reach and hold their objective on this day. The ‘Football Attack’ caught the imagination of the country, and illustrations of it are shown in the Regimental Museum, which also contains one of the footballs used.

On that day, the 8th Battalion alone won two DSOs, two MCs, two DCMs and nine MMs, but 147 officers and men were killed and 279 wounded.

Read the diary description this very special event right here, courtesy of the museum.



  1. Dude, you got it completely wrong. These men that went out to fight are NO WHERE NEAR HEROS! can’t you see? War heros are not the people who take lives, but are the people who save them. People who take lives are not heros, But the medical people, who do not know at the time that they are heros. You need to understand (And I thought by now people would know) that war is NEVER the answer. No matter WHAT THE CASE. Hitler to the Germans was a legend. No, he was a big, killing machine. If anyone reading this who is Jewish, they will agree, probably. I do not see why people fight, when there is ALWAYS another way to resalve the problem.

  2. Thanks for the comment. I agree with you that war is a truly dreadful thing and I am in no way condoning it or glorifying it – all I am saying is that these British men who fought in the trenches, who lived in mud and sh@t for weeks and months on end, who had to endure hours of shelling, enemy raids, night patrols, long marches, digging trenches, burying the dead etc. etc. were just normal people. Teachers, accountants, footballers, miners, electricians, farm labourers…normal guys going about their normal business when suddenly they were told they had to fight a bunch of Germans who when truth be told, they didnt have any bad feelings toward. Imagine if that was to happen today. We cannot imagine the hardship these people went through. They went through hell. Many of them were teenagers or early 20’s – their entire life was infront of them. Entire families, streets and even communities were wiped out. These were not paid killers, these were normal people adaping as best they could to the situation they were in. And for that, they are ALL heroes, whether they were the cooks, the engineers, the medics, the officers, the runners, the machine gunners, artillery men, labour corps…all of them.

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